Business

Survey says 62 per cent of businesses ill prepared for PST

In December, the BC Chamber of Commerce released the results of a province-wide survey that asked businesses about their readiness for the transition back to the provincial sales tax, and goods and services tax.

"There are many PST resources now available that B.C. businesses need to avail themselves of and be made aware of," president/CEO said John Winter said. "Many new businesses in B.C. have never collected the PST, and need to be brought up to speed, so that consumers are not negatively impacted at the cash register come April."

In total, 970 businesses took part in the survey. Of those, 62 per cent were not aware of the changes that will be made to the PST, and 73 per cent did not feel they had received adequate information. Through the depth and breadth of the Chamber of Commerce network in B.C., the BC Chamber was able to reach businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions of the province.

"There is a tremendous opportunity for Chambers of Commerce to work co-operatively with the provincial government to make sure this knowledge gap is filled," said Winter. "Together we can ensure that the coming transition is a smooth one."

For more information visit the BC Chamber website or any of the resources from the province.

The PST is being re-implemented April 1 with all permanent exemptions. Registration for the tax opened last week.

Businesses can register three ways:

*Visit www.gov.bc.ca/etaxbc/register. Online registration should take about 10 to 20 minutes to complete.

*Visit in person the nearest Service BC Centre. See locations at www.servicebc.gov.bc.ca/.

*By mail or fax. Complete the Application for Registration for Provincial Sales Tax (FIN 418) found at: www.gov.bc.ca/pst. Go to

Forms and Publications. Businesses also can get the form at the nearest Service BC Centre, or by calling

1 877 388-4440. Mail or fax the completed form to the address or fax number shown on the form, along with appropriate documentation.

A new PST number will be assigned once the business registration application is processed.

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